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CRN Exclusive: Intel's Michael Reed On The Company's Big Blockchain Bet And How Partners Could Benefit

Michael Reed, director of Intel's Blockchain Program Office, sheds some light on the company's recently revealed patent application for a Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator and details efforts with the blockchain decentralized ledger technology.

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How would you describe Intel's current interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain?

Blockchain is sort of a revolutionary new technology that offers enterprises in general an opportunity to change the way they work. The sort of magic in blockchain -- it started with Bitcoin back in 2008 – is that it can settle transactions without the use of an intermediary. So if you just think about the way you and I, consumers, make transactions every day, typically, when we exchange something of value with a third party, we have an intermediary between us and a third party who is basically helping manage the relationship.

Businesses, of course, have similar relationships. They exchange things of value between each other on a routine basis. Think stocks that are traded on the stock market. Think about supply chain as goods travel from raw materials up to finished goods. In those transactions, there is often a party in the middle that's actually collecting a fee and managing the relationship and the transaction between those companies.

So that's the interesting part about blockchain. This is a new capability that can take the middleman out of the transaction and ultimately create more value for companies. Intel's interest in this space is in identifying a new workload that comes into play and helping to make sure that workload runs best on Intel architecture. So as companies adopt our latest processors, either in servers or in [client computers] or in the cloud, they can run these new technologies, this new blockchain technology.

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